Sounds about right

Any future nationalist government of Scotland would face Greek-style austerity cuts of about £19 billion in the event of a “Scexit”, a leading economic forecaster has warned as speculation grows that the country will face a second independence referendum.

A new analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicts that the gap between what Scotland raises in taxes and spends on public services will rise to an “unsustainable” 9.4% of GDP in 2017-18.

And of course if the demented porridge wogs think that’s worth it then we should not stand in the way of their leaving.

For, of course, we’re the people pickling up that bill at present….

Worse, perhaps they could turn out to be waaacists

Streets should no longer be named after local heroes because they might one day be named as paedophiles, according to official guidance.

Councils have been told that places should not be named after individuals – including fallen soldiers – in case they are later linked to “inappropriate activities”.

It comes after hundreds of streets, footpaths and plaques named after Jimmy Savile had to be altered when the star was exposed as a child abuser.

Hmm, so what do we call that bit of London where the tailors hang out now?

Doesn’t this just show why Pruitt is right?

Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency have been calling their senators to urge them to vote on Friday against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s contentious nominee to run the agency, a remarkable display of activism and defiance that presages turbulent times ahead for the E.P.A.

Many of the scientists, environmental lawyers and policy experts who work in E.P.A. offices around the country say the calls are a last resort for workers who fear a nominee selected to run an agency he has made a career out of fighting — by a president who has vowed to “get rid of” it.

“Mr. Pruitt’s background speaks for itself, and it comes on top of what the president wants to do to E.P.A.,” said John O’Grady, a biochemist at the agency since the first Bush administration and president of the union representing the E.P.A.’s 15,000 employees nationwide.

Yes, but he’s the President, duly elected, and you’re the drone to do his bidding….

There’s a reason for this you know

Donald Trump moved on Tuesday to expunge rules aimed at forcing oil companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments in order to secure lucrative mining and drilling rights.

“Trump has given an astonishing gift to the American oil lobby. Oil, gas and mining companies listed across the EU, including Russian companies, have already disclosed $150bn of payments in resource-rich countries, with no ill effects. This makes a mockery of claims by US oil companies such as Exxon that greater transparency would damage companies’ competitiveness. If the European companies can do it, you have to ask – what are US companies trying to hide?” said Zorka Milin, senior legal adviser at the advocacy group Global Witness.

Isn’t it Angola that bans companies from revealing how much they pay Angola?

What a fun, fun, argument

Britons may have to work longer if immigration is cut in the wake of Brexit, according to a warning from the Government’s pension adviser.

John Cridland, a former CBI director reviewing the state pension age for the Government, said the “Brexit Factor” had made the future of the state pension uncertain.

The Government’s decision on pension changes, due in May, will be informed by Mr Cridland’s report to be published one month earlier.

Probably a true one too. Given the low rate at which we indigenes reproduce there aren’t all that many young people to pay for the old. So, it’s necessary to import more younger and more fertile in order to pay for the old.

Or, pay the old less or for a shorter period of time.

But the real point here is that governments have lied for the past century and more. The way they set up the pensions system was not sustainable, that’s exactly what we’re being told here.

Points make prizes

And points to the first person to see someone not getting this:

An investigation into the emergency closure of 17 schools in Edinburgh built under private finance initiative arrangements has revealed a series of other potentially fatal safety defects at PFI schools.

Prof John Cole, a construction industry expert, said brick walls at four other schools in Scotland fell down in high winds in very similar circumstances to the collapse of an external wall at Oxgangs primary school in Edinburgh in January 2016.

They didn’t put the right ties in between the walls, OK.

In Glasgow, a high wall fell down on to a roof during extremely high winds at Lourdes primary school, which was not built using PFI. Inspections revealed that five other walls were faulty, again because not enough wall ties were used.

It is by no means unique to PFI projects.

Cole said the faults were not down to the private financing of the schools but the failure of the PFI contractors to do the correct quality checks.

The points go to the first person to spot an anguished screed claiming that this is all due to private financing rather than general incompetence of builders.

And do note what does happen with a PFI contract. Those managers who hired the builders lose millions upon millions as a result of not monitoring the builders properly. Will rather concentrate the minds of the next lot, no?

Actually, there are more points on offer for whoever has the patience of knowledge to look at that Glasgow, non-PFI one. Who is going to lose money there?

No, this isn’t the reason

Ruth Davidson yesterday told farming leaders it would be “foolhardy” to give MSPs the power to create an entirely separate Scottish replacement for the EU’s controversial Common Agricultural Policy after Brexit.

The Scottish Tory leader said she expected “an almighty political row” over the coming months over whether Westminster or Holyrood runs agriculture after powers are repatriated from Brussels.

She argued it would be wrong to create barriers within the UK domestic market – the destination of 85 per cent of Scotland’s ‘agri-exports’ – by having different systems on both sides of the Border.

If Scotland has a different policy then Scotland will have to pay for it. If it’s a British policy then maybe Britain as a whole will pay for it, to the benefit of the Scots.

Idiot damn stupidity

No doubt, unless it was a coded message to his own four children, David Mowat, the junior health minister, meant well last week when he floated a proposal that “we start thinking as a society about how we deal with the care of our own parents”.

Around six months into the job, it has occurred to the primary care minister, he told the communities and local government committee, that a less formal set-up might work wonders. “One thing that has always struck me as I have been doing this role,” he said, “is that nobody ever questions the fact that we look after our children. That is obvious and nobody ever says that is a caring responsibility; it is just what you do.”

Perhaps he has yet to learn about the work, not only of social services and family courts, but of the often unfairly maligned Child Support Agency, created precisely because of the hundreds of thousands of parents, from all kinds of backgrounds, who reject their obligations. In those cases, the state can prove, dismaying though this is to accept, more responsible than an absent parent.

It doesn’t seem to occur to an Observer columnist that the CSA is the arm of the State which insists that people do meet their responsibilities to their children.

The new government wheeze to avoid its obligations is to suggest that children bear the burden, not the state

Well, yes, why not?

Plod’s latest

A police force carried out a controlled explosion on a “suspicious” car outside a station, not realising its own officers had parked it there.
A bomb squad was called after concerns about an unattended Vauxhall Corsa at Workington police station, Cumbria.
Roads around the building, in Hall Brow, were sealed off and an explosion carried out at 08:00 GMT.
The force blamed “an internal communications error” and apologised to the owner.
Cumbria Police said other officers on duty were not aware colleagues had parked the car outside the station after helping its owner, who had taken ill.

And then we get to the problem:

“The constabulary will review this incident and will take on board any learning.”


What’s wrong with “Yes, you’re right, we fucked up, we’ll try not to do that again”?

This is all entirely true

You arrive at your school. Its funding is tax-based and so the asphalt playground is cracked in every direction, barely holding up a rusty goal post attached to a rimless, equally-rusted backboard. You rip and run across the front, eagerly waiting to get in because you are one of the lucky kids who qualifies for breakfast vouchers. (Some of your friends don’t qualify even though their parents can’t really afford to feed them in the morning.) You’re a nice person, so you share, and together you feast on microwaved eggs, syrupy fruit cups and grayish-greenish mystery meat. You like to wash it down with strawberry whole milk, but don’t forget to check the expiration date, because you hate the taste of grainy sour chunks that float in the old boxes.

A guy in a colorful tie says, “Hello!” as you bite into the mystery meat. You wave back. He doesn’t know your name, and you don’t know his. He’s the principal, but you don’t know that, because he’s the third one in four months. They tend to quit often around here. You finish breakfast and head to class. Your path is covered with cigarillo tips, crumpled papers and an occasional desk. The stairwell smells like hot fries and boiled piss. You follow the trail of trash straight to your class.

Inner city education systems in the US really can be, are, like this.

The author is from Baltimore:

The Baltimore school system ranked second among the nation’s 100 largest school districts in how much it spent per pupil in fiscal year 2011, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The city’s $15,483 per-pupil expenditure was second to New York City’s $19,770. Rounding out the top five were Montgomery County, which spent $15,421; Milwaukee public schools at $14,244; and Prince George’s County public schools, which spent $13,775.

Hmm, maybe it’s the way the money is spent, not the amount of it, which is the problem?

The terrible peril of abolishing the EPA

Imagine turning on the faucet in your house, and knowing that you couldn’t drink from the taps because the water was contaminated by lead. Last year, that was the reality for the families of Flint, Mich. — a tragedy that reminded us that we can never take clean water or a healthy environment for granted.

Now imagine that there was no federal response to this tragedy. That there were no rules protecting your drinking water, and that you were left on your own to fight against polluters and the failure of state or local politicians to protect water quality and the health of your family.

That disturbing scenario will be reality for all Americans if House Republicans have their way.

This week, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) proposed legislation to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, which is tasked with enforcing the federal laws that keep our air and our water clean.

Flint happened with the existence of the EPA. So, err, maybe the EPA isn’t all that good at its job?

After all, evidence of a bureaucracy fucking up is not evidence of the infallibility of that bureaucracy, is it?

Nonsense at home

A proposal to create a park-and-ride site on water meadows on the edge of Bath has been backed by the city’s Conservative cabinet despite claims that the project would put its world heritage status at risk.

During a special meeting on Wednesday evening, opponents claimed it was a costly white elephant that would wreck the meadows and precious views of the city. One leading Tory councillor even called the project “evil”.

But following a meeting lasting almost four hours, the cabinet concluded that an 800-space park and ride to the east of the city was necessary to cope with growing congestion and decided the site at Bathampton Meadows was the best option.

Very, very, bad option. Pave over Landsdown racecourse (it’s only the Welsh who go to it) and stick a funicular down Weston Hill.

There, solved, done and dusted.

All hail the State!

Imagine if the Curajus really did run more of our lives.

Two trials would both like me as a witness (expert I insist, not the Scouser in the suit). Both in London, both going on at the same time. The various people scheduling know I live outside the UK. They are obviously paying expenses.

The two evidence dates are 8 days apart……


The terrors of fuel poverty

There are now more than 2.3 million families living in fuel poverty in England – that’s the equivalent of 10% of all households. “Fuel poverty” is in many ways a political euphemism for desperation; for worrying that your children are cold in their beds, or having to skip meals to stay warm. One in six people are cutting back on food to pay their energy bills, according to the charity Turn2Us. One in six disabled people have to wear coats inside to keep warm.

One obvious point is that perhaps we shouldn’t be making energy more expensive through greenery.

The other might be, well, when wasn’t it true that poor people were cold in winter? Actually, when weren’t rich people cold in winter? Extensive central heating really only became common in the 1980s, didn’t it? So everyone before that lived in fuel poverty, no?

Hang all councillors

Look , local government really is about making sure that the bins are collected:

In Conwy, recycling, food waste and nappy bins are collected every week, but the general waste bins are only taken once every four weeks.

This is, of course, because of EU targets about recycling. Targets which we can dump rather shortly.

But seriously folks, this is government failure on a grand scale.

This is fun

The Government has been urged to crack down on health tourism after it emerged that a Nigerian woman cost the NHS £350,000 by flying to Britain to give birth to twins.

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital is said to be chasing payment for the caesarean section the unidentified woman had, followed by intensive care treatment for the two babies.

Fun in a rather dark manner.

We know that the NHS won’t pay more than £30k per qualy, or rather than NICE won’t let it for a drug or treatment. But what’s the number for treatment in general, ICU etc?

The Mail points out what cheapskates the BBC are

The BBC has spent more than £100,000 in three years on alcohol including spirits, beer and cider and sparkling wine.
A Freedom of Information act request revealed a total spend of £115,049 in 2013, 2014, and 2015 on wine, beer, cider and spirits.
This includes all the money spent production and non-production related-costs, so can include drinks for guests.

Well, yes, when you turn up the the Green Room you’re offered a drink. Tea? Sandwich? Wine?

Given the number of guests they have spread across the channels that all seems pretty cheap, doesn’t it?

Obviously just too embarrassing to continue

Ministers have ended funding for an all-female pop group dubbed Ethiopia’s Spice Girls following a furious backlash from Conservative MPs.

Yegna, a five-strong pop group, was promised £5.2million of taxpayer’s money to develop a “branded media platform”.

Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, has now moved to end the funding amid concerns that it is not value for money.

What worries though is that there is an aid spending system which thought that this was a valid use of money. So, what other horrors lurk in that system?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with education

Headteachers must be given the power to sack poorly performing staff if the standard of the Scotland’s troubled education system is to improve, John Swinney was warned today (fri).

The Commission on School Reform, set up by think tank Reform Scotland, told a Scottish Government consultation is was “imperative” that heads have the final say in the hiring and firing of teachers and how to spend staffing budgets.

What’s wrong is that this is even a matter for discussion.

What do you mean managers don’t hire and fire staff?